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This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613678

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Strategies to develop effective, innovative and practical approaches to protect major european fruit crops from pests and pathogens

Practical solutions for control

Is it possible to evaluate the risk of future spread of Ds?
Based on the current knowledge on Ds biology and ecology a risk map will be develop for Europe to forecast future introduction and spread of this pest. The map will take in consideration all the conditions, such as the climatic requirements, affecting Ds fly, reproduction and survival. These risk maps will be integrated to the decision support system for management and will also determine which IPM strategy should be applied in which area.

Can cultural practices such as irrigation, pollination, fertilization, pruning, cultivation under plastic tunnel or net influence the pest and disease spread and development?

This task will mainly focus on Psa and Ds. Concerning Psa, but also Xap, the major activities in kiwi fruit and stone fruits cultural management are represented by pollination, irrigation, fertilization, use of bioregulators and pruning. The role of each of these activities on disease incidence and development will be firstly evaluated in small-scale experiment and, on the bases of the results obtained, field experiments will be designed. The relative importance of the different cultural practices will also be investigated in real orchard conditions. For the different cultural activities, together with the data about disease incidence and development, also the microclimatic conditions inside plant canopy and the major biometric performances will be recorded (e.g. photosynthetic rate, shoot elongation, fruit production and quality, specific leaf area, stomatal conductance, leaf chlorophyll content).

Concerning Ds, cultural practices (e.g. clean harvest, wild fruit removal, netting) that limit abundance of, and damage by D. suzukii will be developed and tested. Experiments will be carried out in berry fields in China and in various berries, grapes and stone fruits in Spain, and Italy. The information gathered in this task will be used to improve the Decision Support System and will be used in dissemination activities to stakeholders in commercial field testing.

How can growers and advisers decide how to implement integrate pest management measures, particularly for new pests and diseases?
It is especially difficult to decide what steps should be taken to control newly introduced pests when there is still very little direct farm-level knowledge in the region. The Dropsa project is gathering information on control of new pests such as Spotted-wing Drosophila and Kiwifruit blight from many sources, including new field and lab testing by project partners. This information will be brought together to create a decision support system (DSS) of tables, diagrams and figures available on-line to show the performance of individual and combined measures, based on the efficacy, feasibility and economic analysis of different combinations of selected pest management practices. Direct experience of control measures will be collected through an online user interface (made available on the project website and on the EPPO website) which will allow model decision inputs to be updated and validated.

Which IPM strategies are developed?
All the knowledge gathered in the project will be integrated to develop different IPM strategies based on most reliable and effective combinations of products and cultural techniques.

IPM strategies will be developed for different cropping systems and different regions. The IPM strategies will include both D. suzukii and/or disease aspects of crop management.

In order to increase sustainability and to minimise the negative anthropic impact, the phytosanitary treatments and the cultural interventions (e.g. pruning) will be tailored on the risk map and the DSS.

Modern fruit production must ensure consumer satisfaction and deliver high value quality fresh fruit that contributes to a healthy diet and overall wellbeing (see EU project ISAFRUIT). In this holistic view, fruit quality should consider not only the organoleptic and nutraceutical value, but should also absence of contaminants such as pesticide residues, achieved through ensuring agricultural practices that reduce pesticide impacts on the environment and promote biodiversity. This goal will be achieved through the IMP strategies developed in DROPSA which will harmonize the most efficient cultural practices with the most effective disease control methods.

Francesco Spinelli
Department of Agricultural Sciences
Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
Alma Mater Studiorum -University of Bologna (Italy)

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